5 Frames… With Kodak Portra 400 (EI 400 / 35mm format / Olympus MJU-II) – by Kevan Wilkinson

Rustic fishing piers and floating docks, colorful fishing boats, and historic buildings are ideal subjects for film photography. I found all of these at Noyo Harbor, which is one of the last remaining working harbors in Northern California.

I stumbled upon this hidden gem while visiting Mendocino with my wife. From the moment we drove down the tiny road that led to the picturesque fishing harbor, I knew it was perfectly suited for 35mm film.


I grabbed a roll of Kodak Portra 400 from my camera bag, opened my Olympus MJU-II, and quickly loaded it. I was like a kid in a candy store when I was walking around Noyo Harbor. It looked like a movie set from decades past, and I was lucky to have bright sunlight in the skies above. I’ve been shooting Kodak Portra 400 for many years, and I find that it produces consistent colors, great sharpness, and excellent highlights with landscapes and street photography, particularly when there is abundant natural light. The fine grain is apparent with Kodak Portra 400, but it’s never overdone or intrusive.

Kodak Portra 400 is one of my go-to film stocks for outdoor and nature photography when I have no control over lighting. Other comparable film stocks I recommend for these scenarios include Kodak Ektar 100 and Cinestill 50D, both of which are always in my refrigerator. Kodak Portra was introduced in the late 1990s and is available in 160, 400, and 800 ASA.

I think my Olympus MJU-II is an ideal camera for most film stocks, and it does the job really well with Kodak Portra 400. The fixed lens is super sharp and fast, and the picture quality is excellent. When I picked up my prints of Noyo Harbor from the photo lab, I was glad to see a mix of sharp, vivid images along with some with faded color palettes and a nostalgic 1970s vibe. This is most likely the result of the large ocean clouds that occasionally made their way overhead and diffused the sunlight.

I hope you enjoy this article and the images.

You can see more of my film photography work on my website and on Instagram.

~ Kevan


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Kevan Wilkinsonhttps://www.kevanw.com/
My name is Kevan and I am a self-taught photographer who specializes in landscape, architecture, travel, and street photography. I discovered photography in high school and saw it as a creative tool to recreate moments that shaped my upbringing. I bought a 35mm film camera and learned how to process black-and-white film soon thereafter. Watching my first image appear in the darkroom was really cool, even though it was out of focus. At that moment, photography became one of my passions.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Great article and images! I have use Portra 400 with the Mju’s “cousin,” the Infinity Stylus 120 and had great results as well. I will try the Cinestill 50D and Ektar 100 as well.

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